My name is Cody and my wife and I have been volunteering with YoungLives since September with our church life group. We began volunteering at the Huntington Beach YL group and began driving a young teen and her son to the group. Not having been involved in YL before, we weren’t exactly sure what to expect but were excited and willing to give it a try. We immediately connected with the young mom and her son. We had a great time talking with them, playing games and listening to stories throughout the evening. For the next few weeks we continued our time at the Huntington Beach group.
As a life group that was designed to turn into a church plant in Santa Ana, we felt called to help launch the Santa Ana YL group. In January, we started the first Santa Ana group and began helping out in a different capacity. We weren’t in a position to be able to drive any young mom’s and their babies but instead began developing relationships once at the group. I was able to help lead the games/skits portion of the evening and it has been a lot of fun to encourage everyone to participate and get them to laugh. In addition, I have been able to connect with young men during ‘guys time’ and playing sports with them afterward.
Over the past 3 months of the Santa Ana group, I have been encouraged to see these young men and women show up, participate, laugh, eat meals together and engage in spiritual conversations. I look forward to continuing to grow in friendships, especially with these young men and to be an encouragement to them. I believe that everyone is seeking community, and that looks different for each person. I know that YL is a place where these teens can come and feel a sense of community, truly be themselves and feel loved. It’s amazing how such a short period of time can change your heart. I look forward to future gatherings with the teens, volunteers and mentors as we continue in community together.
– Cody Schilling